And this afternoon onward, everyone will be like, lazy hai. #WFH took a break last weekend on account of the results of assembly elections—a time when the most entertaining content comes out of real life.
This weekend's recommendations are short and sweet. After all, allowance needs to be made for other activities that may make you happy and high. With the letter 'I' to help choose three best films from all that is available on the various OTT platforms, I invite you to immerse yourself in the reel world.
Is it Too Much to Ask? (2017)
Among the many things that Leena Manimekalai's 30-minute docu-drama gets right is the title. The quest of the protagonists of Is it Too Much to Ask? is as basic as renting a house in Chennai. It becomes as challenging as scaling Mt Everest merely due to the fact that the protagonists are two trans women.
Living Smile Vidya and Angel Glady are urgently looking for an apartment as they are moving out of their existing one. An urban story most of us are familiar with—Leena Manimekalai's craft and sensitivity uplift it. Is it Too Much to Ask? uses elements of fiction and documentary filmmaking to portray the househunting woes of Vidya and Glady as they stumble upon one hurdle after another. Their gender identities do not help them in this endeavour that already entails jumping across the hoops of patriarchy, feudalism, communalism, casteism, regionalism, and even colourism.
The recently released Badhaai Do has been receiving rave reviews from viewers and critics alike. Again, a simple story uplifted by the humane lens through which the struggles of the members of the LGBTQ+ community are portrayed. Like the Rajkumar Rao, Bhumi Pednekar starrer feature film, Is it Too Much to Ask? keeps the tone light and draws the viewer into the world of its characters, who happen to be real people.
Where to Watch: Mubi
In Montauk (2012)
What happens when someone, seemingly perfectly happy in life, is brought to the realisation that they are, in fact, dissatisfied? There's joy, there's heartache, perhaps even betrayal, and there are actions with consequences. Kim Cummings's In Montauk is an exploration of all this and more.
Julie (Nina Kaczorowski), a young photographer, is a woman that has it all: a doting husband in Josh (George Katt), a promising career, and a baby in her womb. She's at work in Montauk, alone, when a composer called Christian (Lukas Hassel) approaches her with an interesting request. Julie's life changes after this moment.
In Montauk is a unique film that eschews the urge to redeem its characters. It is about difficult choices and the consequences of those choices that the characters are made to live with. On the face of it, the film is about adult relationships but scratch the surface and it is about the very idea of choice. Can we ever make an "informed" choice? Are we even supposed to make one?
The film delights with engaging performances and convincing character arcs. It also received multiple awards in the American film festival circuit so you can't likely go wrong with this one.
Where to Watch: Plex
I Was At Home, But...(2019)
Directed by Angela Schanelec, I Was At Home, But... may remind you of your own state of mind after a raucous Holi party. Memories, disjointed scenes, inscrutable faces, and an inability to grasp the world around you fully. Schanelec won several awards for this film that depicts the world of a widow who is still grieving.
This german film does not offer anything to a lazy viewer: you need to unearth the meaning through each scene, each frame. It may seem like a daunting task but is, nonetheless, rewarding. That's what differentiates good cinema from the rest.
The world of Astrid (Maren Eggert) and her two children is brought to the viewer through seemingly unconnected scenes and images. Her 13 years old son is back after an unexplained brief disappearance and the adults around him are trying to cope with it. More than the plot of the story, it is the reward of finding the multiple layers of grief that Astrid seems to be covered under that keeps the viewer hooked to the film.
Watch this film as a test to ensure that the Holi substances have finally been purged!
Where to Watch: Mubi